Manchester United is closing in on a £50 million deal for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred. According to Sky Sports, The Red Devils are in advanced negotiations with the Ukrainian side and there could be an announcement in the coming days. The Brazilian will be with his national side at the upcoming World Cup in Russia, and United want to seal the deal before then.
Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva, who is Fred’s advisor, stated back in March that his client’s preferred destination would be the Premier League, while Donetsk CEO Sergei Palkin said during the same month, “”Fred will leave in July, if he does not go to Manchester City, he will go to Manchester United.”
This is the latest of many midfield experiments that Jose Mourinho will try in order to make Paul Pogba tick in his side. The Frenchman joined the club in the summer of 2016 for a then world record fee of £90 million, but is yet to find his best position in the side. The signing of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea last season didn’t exactly do him any good, as Mourinho tried a whole host of combinations to get the best of his prized asset.
Fred is far more dynamic than Matic, and has excelled as a box-to-box midfielder under Paolo Fonseca in the last couple of seasons at Donetsk. In total, he has made close to 200 appearances for the side since joining in 2013. With Michael Carrick leaving in the summer, Fred may be just the kind of player United need to keep control in midfield. Marouane Fellaini may also be heading towards the exit door.
Of course, this move will also put a lot more pressure on Pogba. There have been reports that the former Juventus midfielder could consider leaving Old Trafford if he isn’t convinced of his future under Mourinho. With just 15 goals in all competitions over two seasons so far, he needs a lot more freedom and confidence to be able to express him.
United’s rivals Man City were also pursuing Fred, but it is now understood that they have dropped out of the race. The Premier League champions are in the market seeking a replacement for the ageing Fernandinho, who also joined English football from Shaktar Donetsk back in 2013. City could now turn to Napoli’s Jorginho, who could follow manager Maurizio Sarri out the door. Another central midfielder in demand among Premier League clubs is Nice’s Jean-Michel Seri. It is understood that Chelsea, City and Arsenal are courting the diminutive Ivorian.
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